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PIPELINES AND TIGHT RHYMES: VIRTUAL MEDIA AND HIP-HOP IN JAPAN & NEW ZEALAND

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Version 2 2023-09-26, 23:57
Version 1 2021-12-07, 09:45
thesis
posted on 2023-09-26, 23:57 authored by Witty, Andrew William Peter

This thesis looks at hip-hop as a contemporary pop cultural phenomena and its relationship with media in the construction of underground hip-hop communities in Japanese and New Zealand settings. My work on hip-hop in Japan illustrates how global networks influence a traditionally mono-cultural society reckoning with a style connected to African-American experience. A New Zealand setting illustrates how virtual networks allow connections to wider hip-hop culture from a geographically isolated setting and legitimises the local scene. In looking at both settings side-by-side, this thesis underscores the various ways that virtual networks and their increased visibility are used contemporaneously in the construction of local hip-hop scenes as a tool to understand and promote hip-hop music. Based on a mix of virtual fieldwork, fieldwork in New Zealand, as well as fieldwork in Japan, this thesis shows that questions of authenticity in hip-hop have become more complex through different manifestations of hip-hop culture that challenge traditional understandings of the genre’s meaning. This is a result of the varying levels of user-agency in virtual networks. In a Japanese setting, we see an increased importance placed on virtual networks, allowing hip-hop fans and musicians alike to be part of the immediate conversation. Language barriers to hip-hop’s dominant English vernacular mean that this conversation is generally filtered through the most dominant networks and ‘mainstream’ culture. These impressions of hip-hop are the driving forces of style for the Japanese scene, leading to a collapse of the dichotic underground/mainstream divide seen in the earlier generations of Japanese hip-hop. In a New Zealand setting, virtual networks are used to connect with English speaking hip-hop musicians overseas, allowing musicians to operate in ‘underground’ virtual communities that are not physically manifested in New Zealand. By drawing attention to the ways that hip-hop culture is formed, legitimized, and understood in these two geographic and cultural settings, this thesis demonstrates that hip-hop culture exists in an integral relationship with virtual media and explores questions of appropriation, imitation, and authenticity.

History

Copyright Date

2018-01-01

Date of Award

2018-01-01

Publisher

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Degree Discipline

Musicology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level

Masters

Degree Name

Master of Music

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 PURE BASIC RESEARCH

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis

Language

en_NZ

Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music

Advisors

Cannady, Kimberly